Salesforce enables all types of companies regardless of size or industry to develop a clearer understanding of their prospect and customer data, and allows for streamlining of various corporate processes. While the benefits of utilizing Salesforce are clear, what isn’t so defined is the difference between businesses customizing Salesforce and “configuring” the platform to fit their unique needs.
The two terms may be similar from definition standpoint, but in the context of Salesforce, they mean vastly different functions. In simple terms:
- Configuring Salesforce is when applications (the arrangement of objects/fields, workflows, email templates, etc.) are developed within the system
- Customizing Salesforce involves manipulating the coding of these apps to write specific functions (Apex Classes, Visualforce Emails, third-party system integrations, etc).
Businesses can adopt “out-of-the-box” Salesforce and gain simple CRM functionality, but there’s so much more under the hood of the CRM that’s just waiting to be unlocked through customization. Now that we have an understanding of these two words as they relate to Salesforce, let’s find out more about the benefits of customizing Salesforce.
Why Customize Salesforce?
The technical requirements to configure Salesforce may enable some companies to complete this process themselves, but the same can’t always be said for customizing the CRM platform, which demands more technical proficiency and experience. But when successful, customization opens a new world of efficiency, enabling companies, regardless of size, industry, and employee needs, to leverage the tool to match their own specifications.
At a macro level, some examples of how businesses can customize Salesforce include:
- Creating more user-friendly applications and a navigable user interface to achieve faster end-user adoption
- Facilitating more efficient sales processes through automation
- Using custom objects and records to store information specific to a company’s industry
- Integrating Salesforce with other existing business systems and processes, both homegrown and “off the shelf”
- Building custom mobile interfaces for field employees so that data and process from the field sync directly with “back office” systems
These examples are just scratching the surface of Salesforce’s customizations. Although customizations won’t be the same on a company-by-company basis, due to reliance on different third-party systems between each business, successful Salesforce customizations can deliver unique functions to specific organizations across many different industries such as:
- Giving UMA Solar, a residential and commercial solar heating provider and a Lunar customer, the insight into where leads are coming from and the ability to track sales reps’ performance to determine if they’re hitting their quota numbers in near real time.
- Providing Trucks & Parts, a seller of used garbage, concrete mixer, and roll-off trucks, a way to streamline its quoting process by using Conga Composer to automatically ask only the necessary questions of clients. With help from Lunar, the company’s clients can easily sign proposals through Conga Sign, resulting in a significant decrease in the time required to generate and process these proposals.
- Enabling Mount Sinai Health System to gain full visibility into their patients’ data to deliver more personalized care coordination for vulnerable populations in New York City. The health provider established a real-time mobile coordination program that provides case managers, social workers, doctors, and physical therapists with a complete view into patients’ health needs. By 2022, Mount Sinai Health System hopes Salesforce will help reduce avoidable hospital use in the city by 25%.
- Allowing Adidas to create a digital interface that delivers more customized shopping journeys to consumers, enabling customers to create custom products based on their preferences. By leveraging Salesforce, the company’s e-commerce sales increased 59% in 2016 compared to the previous year.
- Empowering U.S. Bank to utilize a unified platform across its payments, investments, mortgages, and banking divisions to strengthen customer relationships, fueling the company’s lead conversion growth by 2.35x.
- Letting Farmers Insurance create a first notice of loss (FONL) process for insurance claims so agents can use a mobile application instead of taking phone calls, reducing the (FONL) process from 12 minutes to three minutes or less.
- Permitting Transmediterranea, a mediterranean ferry company, to implement a point-of-sale system that sends push notifications to travelers updating them about their trips and allowing customers to purchase tickets from a mobile app. The company also utilizes Salesforce IoT Explorer to access real-time data such as ferries’ locations and fuel consumption that’s stored in automated marine traffic systems. With real-time insight, Transmediterranea can also analyze competitors’ ferries to identify potential upsell opportunities.
- Granting KONE, an engineering company that builds and services elevators and escalators, the ability to automate recurring processes such as management approvals and contract renewals. KONE hopes to eventually utilize real-time data from more than 1.1 million elevators and escalators to manage customer information and tasks such as scheduled maintenance.
With Salesforce in place, companies can utilize the platform’s vast capabilities to tailor the suite to their unique and industry-level needs.
Start Customizing Salesforce Today
Businesses without the internal expertise to customize Salesforce have options to achieve this function, and one of the first steps in accomplishing this goal is finding a consulting partner to identify company objectives, discuss the requirements of the customization, and then start customizing Salesforce.
Although businesses may be eager to perform numerous customizations quickly to boost productivity, such an approach can be overwhelming to employees. A slow, steady approach will enable sales teams to familiarize themselves with new functions and incorporate them more easily into their workflows. Change in the workplace can be hard for some staff members, and the last thing companies want on their hands is a team of unhappy employees who don’t buy into the new system.
There’s a reason why Salesforce is the most popular CRM system in the world. In addition to providing businesses with a platform to manage their entire sales cycle, marketing initiatives, and customer support needs, Salesforce’s customization sets the platform apart from other alternatives on the market.
Looking to learn more about how to customize Salesforce? Request a consultation from our consulting team.
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